COTTAGE GROVE SENTINEL February 10, 2016 New Cascade owners settle in BY JON STINNETT the Cottage Grove Sentinel A little over a month has passed since the transi- tion, and the new owners of Cas- cade Home Centers in Cottage Grove and Creswell say they’re happy to be continuing with two already successful businesses. “This is the fi rst store we’ve gotten involved with that’s al- ready up and running. Our plan for the fi rst quarter with these new stores was not to come in and change everything,” said Ryan Ringer, the fourth genera- tion of leadership in the Ringer family, which owns Gold Beach Lumber Yard stores in Gold Beach, Port Orford and Brook- ings. “We wanted to make sure we understand what Cascade is; we knew it was a successful company that is profi table, with great employees that have been wonderful through this transi- tion.” George Devine and Gene Gil- lett announced the sale of Cas- cade at the very end of 2015, and Dean Kruschke, who serves as Cascade’s new general man- ager, has been on hand to help shepherd the transition for some time. He has also made appear- ances at several local events and City Council meetings. “I’m interested in what’s going on in this community and where I can be involved,” Krushke said, “whether that’s through Rotary, Council meet- ings or in the local schools.” Please see CASCADE, Page 11A Changes to education under ESSA still to be determined Many parameters of No Child Left Behind successor to be decided at the state level BY JON STINNETT the Cottage Grove Sentinel S courtesy photo Cascade store manager Dean Kruschke, far left, with Jocelyn Ringer, owner, one-year old Finn Ringer, owner Ryan Ringer, Beckett Ringer, 6, and Easton Ringer, 4. Dept. of Revenue: Watch for fraudulent activity this tax season T ax fi ling season has begun and the Oregon Department of Rev- enue wants to remind taxpayers to fi le early, fi le electronically and immedi- ately report suspected identity theft. The Department of Revenue states that Oregon, other states and the IRS have seen signifi cant increases in the fi ling of fraudulent tax returns, often using stolen identities and fi ctitious W-2s as a way to try and claim refunds. “We know tax fraud is on the rise,” explained Kris Kautz, the department’s interim director. “Our goal is to avoid paying on fraudulent claims to protect Oregon’s tax dollars from misappro- priation and protect our taxpayers from fraud.” How big is the problem? In 2014, the DOR said it saw 4,700 fake returns trying to claim a total of nearly $8 million in refunds. “We stopped all but 159 of those fake refunds from being issued, preventing nearly $7.8 million from getting into the hands of fraudsters,” according to a Monday press release. Through mid-November 2015, the Department said it saw nearly 4,000 fake returns, claiming more than $7 million in refunds. The Department of Revenue said it aims to: Provide easier reporting options through its website and dedicated iden- tity theft phone line. Reporting poten- tially fraudulent activities or fl agging an account for possible fraud can be accomplished at its website at www. oregon.gov/dor by clicking on “Report Fraud or Identity Theft” under “Get Help” at the bottom of the homepage or by calling (503) 947-2000. Online services use two-factor au- thentication and require taxpayers to validate specifi c tax information before they can access their Revenue Online accounts. The Department said it is following up on suspicious returns. “If we think someone is using your personal information to fi le a fraudu- lent return, we’ll send you a letter ask- ing you to verify your identity. You can verify you identity by mail, by phone, or by taking our new online identity verifi cation quiz,” the release stated. The Department said the Oregon Legislature funded its plan to incor- porate commercial data analytics and real-time withholding matching to help catch more fraudulent tax activity. “We’re participating in the IRS Secu- rity Summit with other states, the tax industry, and the IRS to identify addi- tional safeguards to protect taxpayers’ federal and state tax accounts from identity thieves,” it stated. “These added security measures may add a bit more time to your fi ling but it’s to protect you as an individual and our state’s funds,” Kautz said. How can taxpayers protect themselves? E-fi le as early as possible. The DOR said that if it receives a real return fi rst, it can better stop fraudsters from using taxpayer information. It asks that those who think or know their identity was stolen notify them immediately using the reporting feature on their website or call (503) 947-2000. Visit www.oregon.gov/dor to get tax forms, check the status of your refund, or make tax payments; or call 1 (800) 356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefi x (English or Spanish); (503) 378- 4988 in Salem and outside Oregon; or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), call 1-800-886-7204. igned into law by President Obama on Dec. 10, 2015, the Ev- ery Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) aims to replace programs put in place by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, but as South Lane School District Super- intendent Krista Parent told the School Board last week, much remains to be seen with regard to how the new legis- lation will affect learning here. The U.S. Department of Education touted advances made under No Child Left Behind on its website, stating that it “represented a signifi cant step for- ward for our nation’s children in many respects, particularly as it shined a light on where students were making prog- ress and where they needed additional support.” However, the DOE continued that, “over time, NCLB’s prescriptive requirements became increasingly un- workable for schools and educators.” The new education model under ESSA has been a hot topic among edu- cators, Parent said, particularly among superintendents of Oregon school dis- tricts, who she said are basically wait- ing for word from the state about the changes it wishes to make during the transition from No Child Left Behind to ESSA. “We know the basic parameters of the law and many of the changes, but so much of this has been pushed back to the state that we’re kind of in a hold- ing pattern right now,” Parent said. The state of Oregon’s website states that ESSA “gives states fl exibility and encourages states and schools to inno- vate, while at the same time holding us accountable for results,” and Parent pointed out that the state’s “fl exibility waiver” expires on Aug. 1, with the provisions of ESSA set to go into ef- fect for the 2017-18 school year. In a briefi ng to explain the parame- ters of the new law held in late January, Deputy State Superintendent Salam Noor said the state hopes to have a draft of its new plan ready for review by the Department of Education in Au- gust, though he added that the DOE may not be ready to review the docu- ment by then. So far, Parent said, the legislation will require state testing in math, read- ing or language arts in grades three through eight with science testing re- quired at each grade level. States that choose to do so can utilize a nationally recognized test instead of a state test. “It remains to be seen what the state will do,” Parent said. “They’ve made a huge investment in the Smarter Bal- anced assessment, so I don’t see them walking away from that lightly.” States will be required to post a 95 percent participation rate in state-level testing, Parent said, and states can cre- ate their own policy for those seeking to opt out of the tests. She called the standards the tests must follow “vague” and reiterated that the state of Oregon has placed “a lot of investment, vetting and input” into standards of the “Com- mon Core” curriculum that was meant to align standards nationwide. The new legislation does away with the Adequate Yearly Progress standards put into place to measure schools by NCLB, and while its suc- cessor has yet to be spelled out, Par- ent said measurements of progress for Oregon’s schools will have to include state testing results and progress for those results, profi ciency for students learning English as a second language and graduation rates for high schools. One new aspect of the legislation, Par- ent told the School Board, will be the inclusion of an indicator that measures student engagement in coursework and the availability of advanced courses such as advanced placement classes for college, etc. The Every Student Suc- ceeds Act will also provide support and grant funding for advanced placement and STEM (science, technology, engi- neering and mathematics) curriculum, Parent said. It may also provide grants for preschool development, which she pointed out helps to bring preschool programs under the umbrella of K-12 education. The new rules under ESSA also do away with the “highly qualifi ed teach- er” requirement of No Child Left Be- hind. “Previously, we had to write a plan for every teacher that didn’t meet the highly qualifi ed standard,” Parent said. “That standard is now gone.” The Oregon Department of Educa- tion posts updates related to ESSA on its website at http://www.ode.state. or.us/search/page/?id=3475. E R O T S R E WINTER HOURS: T HURSDAY , F RIDAY & S ATURDAY 10 AM -4 PM For Drop-off appointments, after hours, call the offi ce We need volunteers for the ReStore ~ a few hours each month! Will you help? Habitat Offi ce and Warehouse 2155 Getty Circle ~ Unit #1 in the Cottage Grove Industrial Park South on Hwy 99 past the High School NS O I T A N DO S AL WAY ! 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